General Motors has named Delta Air Lines CFO Paul Jacobson chief financial officer, joining the automaker on 1 December. He will report to chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

Jacobson, 48, is the first outsider named to the post since Chris Liddell joined GM from Microsoft in 2010, departing 15 months later, reportedly in part because he was passed over for the CEO role at the automaker post-bankruptcy. In January 2017, he was appointed an assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives in the incoming Trump administration.

“Paul is a great addition to the GM senior leadership team and is dedicated to leading the company for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Barra.

“GM’s vision is compelling because it embraces the needs of society, customers and investors, and they are executing an historic technology shift to electrification from a position of strength,” Jacobson said. “I look forward to joining the team and helping them accelerate their plan.”  

Jacobson joined Delta as a financial analyst in 1997 and held several positions including treasurer. He became Delta CFO in 2012 and was named the airline industry’s best CFO eight times by Institutional Investor magazine’s poll of Wall Street analysts and investors.

John Stapleton, GM’s acting CFO since 31 August, will continue as North America chief financial officer, a position he has held since January 2014.

“I appreciate John’s leadership and willingness to take on two roles during our search for a new CFO,” Barra said. “John’s passion for operations allowed us to take full advantage of the market recovery in North America, and he has helped the entire company meet the global challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, execute aggressive plans to protect our finances, and drive strong launch and sales performance. With John once again fully focused on our opportunities in North America, I am very confident our momentum will continue.”